Tuesday 24 September 2013

Official Membership

Up until this year we haven't had an official membership as such: basically, our 'members' were anyone who turned up. At the AGM back in May we decided to change this so that regular attendees could become official members to distinguish them from people who just come once in a blue moon and give them a few benefits.

So as from September, if you'd like to be a member, an annual fee of £5 is payable. This is on top of the usual monthly £3 (currently), but it means that you can attend the Annual Spring Seminar (Melanie Reinhart in 2014!) at a members rate - which will probably save you more than £5 right off - though we haven't finalised this year's ticket prices yet. And attend the AGM for free. So actually, if you are a regular attendee and you would come to the Spring Seminar anyway, you're better off for doing this! 

10 of us are official members as of the September meeting, and we're expecting more over the next few months. 

October 2013 will also see us drawing up a very simple 'constitution' for the group, even though we've had some issues with that in the past.  

Thursday 19 September 2013


I must confess I find Okyrhoe the most difficult of the three female Centaurs to connect with. Perhaps if I'd discovered her when I was about twenty, approaching her first return, I'd have felt differently. However, though I have to try harder with her I will admit to a shiver of excitement when I do manage to attune to her energy.

Let's look at her vital statistics. Okyrhoe was the third of the female Centaurs to be discovered, on 19 September 1998. She moves between Jupiter and Saturn, whose orbit she crosses. She comes closer to Jupiter than any of the Centaurs named so far, although she doesn't stray inside his orbit. Her orbit is the most elongated of the female Centaurs, which gives a clue to her nature – she is more adventurous and more impetuous. In myth, she's the daughter of Chiron and Chariklo.

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Note: It's 15 years to the day since she was discovered!

What's immediately obvious is that Okyrhoe is riding high with Jupiter at the top of the chart. They are, in fact, right at the beginning of a 24 year cycle that began just a couple of months earlier. But there's something even more interesting going on here. Okyrhoe is also conjunct the star 51 Pegasi, which was the first star similar to our own discovered with a planet orbiting around it, back in 1995. With this discovery, we learned that our solar system was not unique.

More interesting still, the exoplanet, informally named Bellerophon, is of a type known as a Hot Jupiter because – as the name implies – it has Jupiter-like characteristics but because it orbits much closer to its sun, it's much hotter.

Incidentally, Bellerophon was the Greek hero that tamed Pegasus (the flying horse) and killed the monstrous Chimera but then pushed his luck too far by deciding to fly to Mount Olympus, the abode of the gods. As punishment for this hubris, Zeus/Jupiter sent a gadfly to sting Pegasus, who then continued on the journey to Olympus. Bellerophon, however, was thrown and fell to earth. His final days were spent in misery, living as a hermit.
So we have themes of Jupiter, horses, hubris and punishment, all of which are relevant to Okyrhoe. We've already seen her relationship to the planet Jupiter. As daughter of Chiron, she is at least part-Centaur (her mother, Chariklo, being a nature spirit), and the story that comes to us from Ovid is that she was punished by the gods for revealing to Chiron his fate. Her punishment was that she was turned into a horse:

'The fates forestall me, and forbid me to say more. My words are checked; too dearly bought were these powers which have drawn down heaven's wrath on me. Would that I did not know the future! Now I seem to see my human form stolen away; now meadow grass is my food, to gallop over the broad plains is my delight. I am changed into a mare, a creature to which I am already akin. Yet why should I be wholly such? Surely my father is half human?' Even as she spoke, the last part of her lament was barely intelligible, for her words became blurred. Then the sound seemed to be neither human speech, nor yet the neighing of a horse, but it was like someone trying to imitate a horse. In a little while, she gave vent to shrill whinnyings, and drooped her arms towards the grass. Her fingers grew together and a thin hoof of smooth continuous horn bound her five finger nails. Her head grew larger, her neck lengthened out, the greater part of her trailing robe became a tail, and her loosened hair, as it streamed down her neck, fell as a mane on her right shoulder.

What does all this mean when looking at Okyrhoe and what she represents in astrology? Well, I see her as a young, swift energy, impulsive and impetuous – reckless, even. She comes close to Jupiter in terms of her orbit and she also has a link to a greater, hotter Jupiter – the exo-planet Bellerophon. I see this as her ability to move between different worlds and different realities. She has a prominent position in the charts of both the Large Hadron Collider and the discovery of the Higgs boson, for example. The meaning of her name ('swift running' or 'fast flowing') is reminiscent of sub-atomic particles which move and change form in ways that confound our understanding of reality. However, she crosses the boundary into Saturn's territory and I see this as overstepping the mark and coming up against the full force of the law. She had the gift of prophecy and, with the impulsiveness of youth, saw no harm in using it. Only when it was too late did she begin to regret her actions.

There again, maybe she would have spoken out anyway, regardless of the consequences.

The final example I'm going to give is one that not only exemplifies Okyrhoe in action, but which also has the two other female Centaurs prominently placed. It therefore seems a fitting way to end my exploration of the female Centaurs. The individual concerned is Malala Yousafzai, and for further details of her life you can click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malala_Yousafzai

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(Birth time not know, so I've done a chart without houses and of course the Moon's position could be considerably different).

I'll begin by saying that she was named after a Pashtun poetess and warrior woman, and her name means 'grief-stricken.' Now look at the Centaur Hylonome in her chart: it's in very close conjunction to Mars. I find that quite extraordinary.

Her father has apparently described her as ' something entirely special.' From an early age he allowed her to stay up late, after her brothers had gone to bed, and talk politics. This is unusual enough, but remember that Malala lived in the Swat Valley at a time when the Taliban were moving in. She started speaking publicly about education rights as early as 2008, when she was about ten or eleven. Her speech was publicised throughout the region. By the end of 2009 she was appearing on television to advocate publicly for girls' education. This is clearly Okyrhoe operating in her chart, and perhaps the ease with which she stepped into this role at such a young age is due to Okyrhoe's conjunction with the South Node. This was something she obviously felt comfortable doing – had she perhaps done it before?

By 2012, when she was 14 or 15, she was planning to organise the Malala Educational Foundation, which would help poor girls go to school. This is probably not the first thing you'd expect the average teenage girl to be devoting her time to. Then she started to receive death threats. When these failed to silence her, the Taliban set out to kill her. A gunman shot her in the head on 9 October 2012. She survived the attack, was flown to England for treatment and has been allowed to remain in the UK, along with her father.

I think this, and her subsequent speech at the UN on her 16th birthday, is a sign not just of Okyrhoe but also of her Chariklo energy emerging. Chariklo is conjunct her Mercury. She spoke out as an advocate for the education of children world-wide. She herself said she will not be silenced and she is not afraid of the consequences.

By progression, the Sun will be conjunct her natal Chariklo in April 2017, when she is a little short of her twentieth birthday. It will be interesting to see if she really comes into her own then.

It's also worth pointing out that she was born just five months after Chariklo was discovered. Maybe there's a new energy coming into the world, and the combined energies of Chariklo and Okyrhoe will be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come.

I hope you've enjoyed reading about these three Centaurs and that some of you will be tempted to explore them further. Thank you for your interest.

Tuesday 17 September 2013


I have to declare an interest where Chariklo's concerned, because she's the Centaur I feel closest to and the one I've done the most inner work with. I think this is because I'm coming up to my Chariklo return, which occurs around the age of 62-3. Now that living to 90-100 and a second Chiron return is no longer an impossible dream, Chariklo's is the first return that is definitely not going to be repeated, so to me it's special.

Let's look at her vital statistics. Chariklo was the second of the female Centaurs to be discovered, on 15 February 1997. She orbits between Saturn and Uranus, whose orbit she just grazes. Her orbit is the gentlest and most 'contained' of all the Centaurs. She is also the largest of the Centaurs (around 160 miles or 258 km in diameter), apart from the one they lost (1995 SN55, which was observed several times after its discovery but then astronomers lost track of it. Presumably it's still out there somewhere!). 

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 Note the perfect Grand Sextile that forms when Chariklo is added to the chart, and that Chariklo's opposition to Uranus was exact the next day.

Chariklo orbits in the same space as Chiron, but he's closer to Saturn and she to Uranus. This reflects their different natures. Chiron is the teacher or mentor who draws on tradition – which by its very nature comes from the past and is very steady and weighty (all Saturnian qualities). Chariklo, however, looks more to the future than to the past and is concerned with how things could be. They make an ideal couple, you might think, and you'd be right. Chariklo is Chiron's wife. Also relevant is that Chariklo is not a centaur. She's a nymph, or nature spirit. Sometimes described as a water nymph, sometimes as a mountain nymph, she is still closely linked to the land but more ethereal than Chiron, the man-horse who lives in a cave.

As well as not being a centaur, there are no stories about her – she just gets a passing mention or two – and yet for me she possesses a power and a radiance unlike any other Centaur. She sees life from a completely different perspective and constantly questions what passes for reality. Her nature is very much that of the Saturn-Uranus cycle, with the emphasis on the Uranian side, always challenging the Saturnian fortress of the status quo. Anyone who is strongly Saturnian and prefers to keep things how they are because they've always been like that (and it's safer that way) will not respond well to the call of Chariklo as she blows a hole in the fortress wall to find out what lies beyond.

Also of note is that, when you think about it, she's the only female figure in the heavens who reaches maturity. Goddesses don't – they either are mature or they aren't. The other female Centaurs don't. In terms of astrological cycles, she's the only female figure whose return occurs in later life. Venus returns and asteroid goddess returns occur too often to be hugely significant, in my opinion; and dwarf planets' cycles are well beyond the length of a human life.

Continuing her connection with Saturn and Uranus, the Chariklo return links the second Saturn return and the waning Uranus square, making a transition period of about five years between the ages of 58 and 63. The Saturn return is an opportunity to look back on your life and appraise both your successes and your failures. This clears the ground for the Uranus square and the Chariklo return (either of which could come first). Both of them are future-oriented. They're about leaving a legacy, not one built in stone with your name emblazoned on it nor money in the bank, but one which results from the distillation of ife experience. They have a wider perspective and better judgement about what works and what doesn't than they had when they were younger. They know what's important and what's ephemeral and they can see through the posturing, gesturing and strutting about on the world stage that passes for leadership these days. Because they know they're entering the final stages of their life, there is also a sense of urgency – this might be their last chance to make a difference, while they still have their health and vigour. Where they differ is in their approach. Chariklo works in a quiet, compassionate way and can temper the worst excesses of iconoclastic, disruptive Uranus. Whereas for Uranus revolution is an event, for Chariklo it is a process.

There is much about Chariklo that is Uranian. She is spirited and independent, restless and always searching. But she does have a sense of duty too, which she gets from Saturn. Her husband, Chiron, was mortally wounded but, being immortal, couldn't die. We can imagine her trapped in a situation not of her making, tending and caring for a husband who is sick but cannot die, and wondering when or even if she will ever have her freedom again. How many people have found themselves in a similar situation with a family member? I did recently, when my father was diagnosed with a terminal illness but couldn't die. Like Chiron, he didn't want to live and longed for release from his suffering but it took fifteen long months before he departed. Okay, it's not quite eternity but it was something that hung heavy on both of us. He had lost his independence and I had lost my freedom, in that my life was to a large extent put on hold during his illness. The longer it continued, the more trapped I felt, as if I was never going to be free again. Although there's no obvious astrological explanation for this in our charts, and I don't consider my father to be a Chironic figure, while preparing my talk it suddenly hit me that I had been living part of Chariklo's story.

Another Chariklo quality is her sense of social justice. I used the example of Joan Baez in my talk to illustrate Chariklo energy (she has it closely conjunct her Descendant). I'm guessing that most people will be familiar with her life story, so I'll just put her chart up and a link for people who want to explore this further (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Baez). I'm going to look instead at someone who is probably not as well known: Louise Michel, the Red Virgin of Montmartre. I heard her life story on the BBC Radio 4 'Great Lives' programme recently and it was somewhat more rounded than this account, but for those who don't know of her: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louise_Michel.

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Louise Michel has Chariklo conjunct Jupiter and, as Jupiter is conjunct Neptune, it can be seen as a triple conjunction. As such Chariklo works very differently here from how it works in Joan Baez's chart. Very briefly, Louise was the result of a liaison between servant and master and as such she received a good, liberal education. She went on to run a school in Paris but she earned very little money because she didn't like turning away poor children.

She also became involved in revolutionary politics and joined the short-lived Paris Commune of 1871, at first as an ambulance woman, treating the wounded, and later joining the National Guard, which involved carrying a gun and wearing a (man's) military uniform. I'm not sure whether she actually shot anyone (though she certainly offered to shoot the man who suppressed the Commune). At her trial she dared the judges to sentence her to death: 'If you let me live, I shall never cease to cry for vengeance' (for the suppression of the Commune). However, determined not to give her the martyrdom she craved, and possibly also afraid of the public reaction if they did, they sentenced her to a period of transportation instead. She and other rebels were transported to New Caledonia, where life was very tough as they were literally dumped there with no resources like food or shelter. Remember, these were Parisian urbanites and they now found themselves forced to live a Robinson Crusoe existence. Undaunted, Louise befriended the local Kanaks, educated them and supported them, morally if not actively, in their 1878 revolt. She also undertook an early anthropological study while on the island.

She returned to France in 1880 and continued with her activism, which led to several short terms in prison. She died on 9 January 1905 (aged 74) while touring France, lecturing on behalf of anarchist causes. Greatly admired during her lifetime, the local community in Paris still maintain her grave to this day.

Obviously neither Chariklo alone nor in combination with Jupiter-Neptune can explain the whole of her life. But Chariklo energy can be seen in her choosing to dress in men's clothing – not unheard of at the time (e.g. Georges Sand) but considered unconventional. Louise never married, she was wedded to the cause – again, unusual for the time she lived in. Significantly, her Chariklo is quincunx Saturn, which I see as Chariklo jabbing at the establishment, wanting them to see there are other, better ways to live (I have Chariklo in as close a quincunx to my Sun-Jupiter-Mercury, so I know what it feels like). She was a thorn in the flesh of the establishment for the whole of her life.

Whilst revolution is usually the territory of Uranus, the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction also contributes to this part of Louise's life. Alexander Ruperti (Cycles of Becoming, pg 239) describes them as being concerned with collective action. Neptune's idealism and interconnectedness shine through her life story, for example in her association with collectives like the Commune rather than treading a lone path, which would be more Uranian. The Chariklo-Jupiter connection is evident in her career as a teacher, with Neptune's idealism there too in her teaching pupils for free and encouraging the Kanaks in their uprising. And the Chariklo-Jupiter-Neptune combination is shown in her defiant bid for martyrdom.

This is just one example of how Chariklo works in the life of an activist – one that was a bit of a rough diamond, perhaps, but a woman who stuck to her principles and gave her all to whatever situation she found herself in.

Sunday 15 September 2013


One of the good things about giving a talk is that you learn a lot about your subject as you prepare for it. Another is that people's responses can bring to your attention something you've noticed but haven't really taken into account. I mentioned one of these at the end of the last post – namely the fact that all three female Centaurs have been moving through Sagittarius for the last couple of years and opposing various planets in my natal chart during that time.

I was aware that Hylonome was discovered during the later stages of the Uranus-Neptune conjunction but I hadn't given it much thought. However, when someone flagged it up I thought 'Yes, of course – these are the planets she moves between!' Later on, in a quiet moment, an image suddenly came to me of Hylonome emerging from the union of these two planets. As I reflected on this, I began to see similarities to the emergence of foam-born Aphrodite/Venus from the sea (Neptune) after Uranus' severed genitals had been cast into it. Venus, a lower octave of Neptune, is about relating to others. Does this have any bearing on how Hylonome functions?

Let's begin with a few of her vital statistics. Hylonome was the first of the female Centaurs to be discovered and is the furthest from the Sun. She orbits between Uranus and Neptune, which she goes just a little bit beyond for a brief period, so she has no contact with any of the personal or social planets. She was discovered on 27 February 1995 and it takes around 125-6 years for her to complete an orbit. 

(Click to enlarge)
 The Uranus-Neptune conjunction heralded many technological innovations during the 1990s, including the World Wide Web and the Hubble telescope, which has brought us so many amazing images from deepest space. Two events that happened in 1992, shortly before the first exact conjunction, were the discovery that Chiron was not alone, leading to a whole new category of minor bodies; and – with the Kuiper Belt's existence confirmed – that Pluto was not alone, a discovery which contributed to his eventual demotion to dwarf planet status. (I believe both these events have major implications for astrology).

But there's more to the Uranus-Neptune cycle than change and technological innovation. Neptune is about mass consciousness and interconnectedness. In this context, Neptune is asking how you can use these changes and inventions for the good of all. One example of this is the humanitarian response to the Asian tsunami in 2004, which if you remember happened over Christmas when all our politicians were on holiday. While they struggled to get back and get to grips with the scale of what had happened, people around the world were fund-raising or getting involved in any way they could. Neptune provided the compassion, Uranus the technological means of bringing it to mass consciousness.

Does any of this relate to Hylonome? Let's take a look at her story, which is short and tragic. She is a young and beautiful centaur, deeply in love with a handsome young centaur named Cyllarus who is killed when fighting breaks out between the Lapiths and Centaurs at Pirithous' wedding. Grief-stricken, she pulls out the arrow that killed him and falls on it herself. (I said it was short!).

Serennu has given a very interesting evaluation of Hylonome's story (http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=245x89841 original no longer seems to be available). She points out that Mars is retrograde in Leo in Hylonome's discovery chart, which could represent a self-inflicted attack to the heart. But she also says that Hylonome's heart was pierced before she fell on the arrow, because it happened as soon as she saw Cyllarus lying there dead. By falling on the arrow she was simply acting out on a physical level what had already happened on an energetic one. This suggests that Hylonome is deeply intuitive, picking up all the vibes around her and feeling them in her body. As such, if Hylonome is working though you, you need to cultivate a gap between feeling and doing or your actions might not turn out well. If you're overly sensitive, you can take on the pain of the world and you simply won't be able to function at all. However, if you can keep a sense of proportion you can use your empathy or compassion for the greater good.

This led me to wonder when the expression 'I feel your pain' came into general use. If you google it, the answer you get is that Bill Clinton used it on 26 March 1992 during his first presidential campaign. Of course, he wasn't the first person to utter the phrase in public but that's the one that has stayed in the public's memory. If you dig more deeply, you discover that he said it out of exasperation rather than empathy (he was being harangued by an AIDS activist, and Clinton gave as good as he got). But such is the power of the image-making machine – another manifestation of Uranus-Neptune – that it's now remembered as showing Bill's ability to empathise. Here's the chart (time unknown but I've assumed it was in the evening):

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Note that the only aspects Hylonome makes are an opposition to Venus and a trine to Uranus-Neptune (remember the Birth of Venus earlier?). Incidentally, Hylonome was in exactly the same relationship to both Venus and Uranus-Neptune at their first exact conjunction less than a year later, on 2 February 1993.

So Hylonome can be empathic, or paralysed by grief. There is something of Miss Havisham about her – a fictional character from Dickens whose life stops when she discovers she's been jilted shortly before she's due to be wed. She orders all the clocks in her mansion to be stopped at twenty to nine (the moment the news reached her) and from thereon lives a twilight existence, still clad in her wedding gown and with the wedding feast mouldering away on the table decades later. In fact, there's a condition known as 'the Miss Havisham effect' for people who suffer a painful longing for lost love, and which can become an addictive pleasure. Hylonome also carries the feeling of being the tragic, or sacrificial, victim. It can range from the mild but pathetic 'poor me I'm looking for sympathy' to the person for whom grief is an event and not a process; their life effectively ends when a tragic event occurs, the body remaining but the heart and soul no longer present, as with Miss Havisham. It may be that people who campaign for social justice after a tragedy has befallen their family are manifesting the positive side of Hylonome (Uranus-Neptune: acting for the greater good after their own life has been changed forever). Although there've been many such cases in recent years, I haven't been able to test this theory as their birth data isn't available. Indeed, all of this is still very much work in progress.

Just one or two other things I'd like to mention. There's a Centaur named Cyllarus and it would seem natural to look at both him and Hylonome together in a chart. However, I haven't felt drawn to work with Cyllarus so I haven't done any work with them as a pair. I've found a strong bond between Hylonome and Nessus, though. Their orbits are a similar length, they were very close to each other for much of the twentieth century and they both seem to deal with raw, indeed, visceral, emotions. Whereas Hylonome is about deep grief, Nessus is about rage and a desire for revenge which stretches beyond the grave. (I have southern Mediterranean blood in me – I am no stranger to these themes!). Another interesting thing about this pair is that over the last four hundred years the furthest apart they've been is a sextile, apart from in the Noughties when they reached the giddy heights of a quintile. I don't know whether this means they always move in tandem or that their cycle is so vast we're only seeing a small part of it. I mentioned the relationship between this pair in my talk but, fascinating though it is, it would take too long to go into here.

Friday 13 September 2013

The Female Centaurs

I gave a talk about the Female Centaurs a few days ago. Don't worry – I'm not going to reproduce it in full here. However, one or two remarks made set me thinking and I'm going to explore those a bit further. I'm also going to reflect on what led me to work with these particular Centaurs. And I'm going to do it in digestible chunks.

First of all, a brief history of the Centaurs. Chiron was, of course, the first to be discovered back in 1977. Although named after a centaur, he was classed as an anomalous object at first because he didn't fit in to any of the existing categories. He was sometimes called a planetoid. He was given an asteroid number, even though his orbit – between Saturn and Uranus – was far beyond the main asteroid belt. Some years after his discovery, as he moved closer to the Sun, he developed a tail and was designated a comet. He still retains both his asteroid and comet number to this day.

Then in 1992, another Chiron-like object was discovered, this time orbiting between Saturn and Neptune. It was named Pholus, after the only other wise centaur. The following year a third body was discovered, this time with an orbit that ranged between Saturn and Pluto. So we had three Chiron-like objects, each acting as a bridge between Saturn and the three outer planets – and each revealing themselves in the correct order. Isn't the Universe amazing sometimes?

Anyone who was interested in Chiron from the early days will remember that he was considered a bridge between the traditional planets and the outer ones, because his orbit ranged between the two. He and his fellow Centaurs turned out to be a bridge between astrologers and astronomers as well, as a dialogue was established between a small but dedicated band of the former and an open-minded group of the latter. Anyone interested in this can read more on Zane Stein's website (http://www.zanestein.com/bio.htm). Astrologers formed the Centaur Research Project to study the characteristics of these small astronomical bodies that were turning up with increasing frequency (http://www.kentauren.info/menu/index1.htm?page=/menu/home1.shtml). They suggested names based on their studies, many of which were supported by the astronomers involved and in turn accepted by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). The third Centaur, Nessus, was the first whose name was proposed by astrologers and accepted by the astronomical community. There are now dozens of known Centaurs but only 17 have been named so far, the latest – Rhiphonos – as recently as July 2013.

So where do the female Centaurs fit in? Well, these are bodies whose orbits aren't quite like those of the other Centaurs. They tend to be gentler and less markedly orbit-crossers. Their stories are also gentler and less bloody. Anyone who has read about the centaurs – in Ovid's Metamorphosis, say – will know that they're a pretty savage, uncivilised bunch who can't hold their drink and usually meet a violent and bloody end. In fact, only one of the female centaurs dies and that's by her own hand – the only suicide among the centaurs. But more of that later. All you need to know for now is that, as with the first three Centaurs' journeys, which took us from Saturn out to Pluto, the females bring us back again … in their order of discovery.

The first female Centaur – Hylonome – was discovered in 1995. She orbits mainly between Uranus and Neptune but just dips a toe into Pluto's realm. The second one – Chariklo – was discovered in 1997. She orbits between Saturn and Uranus, just like Chiron (she is, in fact, his wife). Her orbit, though, gets closer to Uranus than to Saturn, whereas Chiron's does the opposite. The third – Okyrhoe – was discovered in 1998. She orbits between Jupiter and Saturn, crossing the orbit of the latter.

So what drew me to work with these particular Centaurs? If only I could answer that. At the beginning of the year I'd got a pretty good idea of what the next three years had in store for me, which was a course of postgraduate study. With time on my hands during the Christmas break, I started delving into the minor bodies that have been discovered in the last twenty years. I wasn't even primarily interested in Centaurs – their names were strange, they weren't particularly nice characters on the whole and they didn't resonate with me. When I came across mention of female centaurs, I thought the idea was faintly ridiculous: 'there's no such thing.' Next thing I found the dry, dusty corridors of academia receding hurriedly into the background and I was running with the wild mares of Thessaly, as Centauros, the father of the centaurs had done. And it was exciting! More than that I cannot say. There was no conscious decision on my part; I was suddenly swept up and I just had to go with it.

Of course, the transiting Neptune square to my natal Sun, Mercury and Jupiter might have played a part. As might the fact that all three female Centaurs have been journeying through Sagittarius (of all signs) for nearly the last two years, at varying times opposing that same stellium and then my natal Mars. Who knows? All I can say is that, so far, I'm enjoying the ride.

Tuesday 10 September 2013

27 Club charts.

Richard Burch gave an interesting talk on Sunday 8th September 2013 about the infamous '27 Club' - musicians who died at that age. The six were (in order of birth date): Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janice Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse. Without going into all the details here, but for those who attended, here are the charts of the 6 musicians and also bi-wheels of the birth charts with transits for the time of their deaths, . Click on the images for a larger version. 

Note, the age of 27 coincides with the progressed lunar return - when the secondary progressed Moon comes back to the same position as it is when born. Richard looked at this and reported that all the secondary progressed lunar returns were within 3-6 degrees of orb at the time of death. Richard's talk highlighted the importance of the Moon in the 6 charts - most were either in dignity (Moon in Cancer) or in exaltation (Moon in Taurus). The group noticed during the talk that the nodal axes also seem to be prominent in the charts - in 4 cases being across the Asc/Dsc axis, and in the other two cases involved in aspect patterns. And at this age generally the transiting node is also at it's half-return - so transiting North Node will be on natal South Node and vice versa. This was much closer for some of the group than others, notable Amy Winehouse. LOTS of food for thought and further study here.

Brian Jones - note, Rodden Rating is C so not an exact time.

Jimi Hendrix

Janice Joplin

Jim Morrison
Kurt Cobain

Amy Winehouse

These are the transits for the deaths of the six musicians (again, click for a larger image):

Death of Brian Jones.

Brian Jones drowned in a swimming pool at around midnight on the night of 2/3 July 1969.
Wikipedia:* "At around midnight on the night of 2/3 July 1969, Jones was discovered motionless at the bottom of his swimming pool at Cotchford Farm. His Swedish girlfriend, Anna Wohlin, was convinced Jones was alive when he was taken out of the pool insisting he still had a pulse. However, by the time the doctors arrived it was too late and he was pronounced dead. The coroner's report stated "death by misadventure" and noted his liver and heart were heavily enlarged by drug and alcohol abuse."

Death of Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix - details of his death, from Wikipedia
"Although the details of his last day and death are unclear and widely disputed, Hendrix had spent much of September 17 in London with Monika Dannemann, the only witness to his final hours. Dannemann stated that she had prepared a meal for them at her apartment in the Samarkand Hotel, 22 Lansdowne Crescent, Notting Hill, sometime around 11 p.m., when they shared a bottle of wine.She drove Hendrix to the residence of an acquaintance at approximately 1:45 a.m., where he remained for about an hour before she picked him up and drove them back to her flat at 3 a.m. Dannemann said they talked until around 7 a.m., when they went to sleep. She awoke around 11 a.m., and found Hendrix breathing, but unconscious and unresponsive. She called for an ambulance at 11:18 a.m.; they arrived on the scene at 11:27 a.m. Paramedics then transported Hendrix to St Mary Abbot's Hospital where Dr. John Bannister pronounced him dead at 12:45 p.m. on September 18, 1970.
To determine the cause of death, coroner Gavin Thurston ordered a post-mortem examination on Hendrix's body, which was performed on September 21 by Professor Robert Donald Teare, a forensic pathologist. Thurston concluded the inquest on September 28, and concluded that Hendrix aspirated his own vomit and died of asphyxia while intoxicated with barbiturates.[187] Citing "insufficient evidence of the circumstances", he declared an open verdict. Dannemann later stated that Hendrix had taken nine of her prescribed Vesparax sleeping tablets, 18 times the recommended dosage."

Death of Janice Joplin, heroin overdose.

Janice Joplin - details of her death, from Wikipedia
"On October 4, 1970, producer Paul A. Rothchild became concerned when Joplin failed to show up at Sunset Sound Recorders for a recording session. Full Tilt Boogie's road manager, John Cooke, drove to the hotel Janis was staying at (Landmark Motor Hotel in West Hollywood). He saw Joplin's psychedelically painted Porsche 356C Cabriolet in the parking lot. Upon entering Joplin's room, (room 105), he found her dead on the floor beside her bed. The official cause of death was an overdose of heroin, possibly combined with the effects of alcohol. Cooke believes that Joplin had accidentally been given heroin that was much more potent than normal, as several of her dealer's other customers also overdosed that week. Peggy Caserta and Seth Morgan had both stood up Joplin the Friday immediately prior to her death, October 2, and according to the book Going Down With Janis, Joplin was saddened that neither of her friends visited her at the Landmark Motor Hotel as they had promised.
Joplin's will funded $2,500 to throw a wake party in the event of her demise. The party, which took place October 26, 1970, at the Lion's Share, located in San Anselmo, California, was attended by Joplin's sister Laura, fiancé Seth Morgan and close friends, including tattoo artist Lyle Tuttle, Bob Gordon, Jack Penty, and road manager Cooke."

Death of Jimi Morrison, accidental - mistaking cocaine for heroin? 

Jim Morrison details of death from Wikipedia: "Morrison died on July 3, 1971 at age 27. In the official account of his death, he was found in a Paris apartment bathtub (at 17–19 rue Beautreillis, 4th arrondissement) by Courson. Pursuant to French law, no autopsy was performed because the medical examiner stated that there was no evidence of foul play. The absence of an official autopsy has left many questions regarding Morrison's cause of death. In Wonderland Avenue, Danny Sugerman discussed his encounter with Courson after she returned to the United States. According to Sugerman's account, Courson stated that Morrison had died of a heroin overdose, having inhaled what he believed to be cocaine. Sugerman added that Courson had given him numerous contradictory versions of Morrison's death, saying at times that she had killed Morrison, or that his death was her fault. Courson's story of Morrison's unintentional ingestion of heroin, followed by his accidental overdose, is supported by the confession of Alain Ronay, who has written that Morrison died of a hemorrhage after snorting Courson's heroin, and that Courson nodded off instead of phoning for medical help, leaving Morrison bleeding to death.
Ronay confessed in an article in Paris that he then helped cover up the circumstances of Morrison's death. In the epilogue of No One Here Gets Out Alive, Hopkins and Sugerman write that Ronay and Agnès Varda say Courson lied to the police who responded to the death scene, and later in her deposition, telling them Morrison never took drugs. In the epilogue to No One Here Gets Out Alive, Hopkins says that 20 years after Morrison's death, Ronay and Varda broke their silence and gave this account: They arrived at the house shortly after Morrison's death and Courson said that she and Morrison had taken heroin after a night of drinking. Morrison had been coughing badly, had gone to take a bath, and vomited blood. Courson said that he appeared to recover and that she then went to sleep. When she awoke sometime later Morrison was unresponsive, so she called for medical assistance. Hopkins and Sugerman also claim that Morrison had asthma and was suffering from a respiratory condition involving a chronic cough and vomiting blood on the night of his death. This theory is partially supported in The Doors (written by the remaining members of the band) in which they claim Morrison had been coughing up blood for nearly two months in Paris, but none of the members of The Doors were in Paris with Morrison in the months prior to his death. According to a Madame Colinette, who was at the cemetery that day mourning the recent loss of her husband, she witnessed Morrison's funeral at Père Lachaise Cemetery. The ceremony was "pitiful", with several of the attendants muttering a few words, throwing flowers over the casket, then leaving quickly and hastily within minutes as if their lives depended upon it. Those who attended included Alain Ronay, Agnès Varda, Bill Siddons (manager), Courson, and Robin Wertle (Morrison's Canadian private secretary at the time for a few months). In the first version of No One Here Gets Out Alive, published in 1980, Sugerman and Hopkins gave some credence to the rumor that Morrison may not have died at all, calling the fake death theory “not as far-fetched as it might seem”. This theory led to considerable distress for Morrison's loved ones over the years, notably when fans would stalk them, searching for evidence of Morrison's whereabouts.
In 1995, a new epilogue was added to Sugerman's and Hopkins's book, giving new facts about Morrison's death and discounting the fake death theory saying, “As time passed, some of Jim and Pamela [Courson]'s friends began to talk about what they knew, and although everything they said pointed irrefutably to Jim's demise, there remained and probably always will be those who refuse to believe that Jim is dead and those who will not allow him to rest in peace.” In July 2007, Sam Bernett, a former manager of the Rock 'n' Roll Circus nightclub, released a (French) book titled "The End: Jim Morrison". In it Bernett alleges that instead of dying of a heart attack in a bathtub (the official police version of his death) Morrison overdosed on heroin on a toilet seat in the nightclub. He claims that Morrison came to the club to buy heroin for Courson then did some himself and died in the bathroom.[58] Morrison's body was then moved back to his rue Beautreillis apartment and dumped into the bathtub by the two drug dealers from whom Morrison had purchased the heroin. Bernett says those who saw Morrison that night were sworn to secrecy in order to prevent a scandal for the famous club, and that some of the witnesses immediately left the country. There have been many other conspiracy theories surrounding Morrison's death but are less supported by witnesses than are the accounts of Ronay and Courson."

Death of Kurt Cobain - suicide - shotgun.

Kurt Cobain - details of death from Wikipedia:
"Following a tour stop at Terminal Eins in Munich, Germany, on March 1, 1994, Cobain was diagnosed with bronchitis and severe laryngitis. He flew to Rome the next day for medical treatment, and was joined there by his wife, Courtney Love, on March 3, 1994. The next morning, Love awoke to find that Cobain had overdosed on a combination of champagne and Rohypnol. Cobain was immediately rushed to the hospital, and spent the rest of the day unconscious. After five days in the hospital, Cobain was released and returned to Seattle. Love later stated that the incident was Cobain's first suicide attempt.
On March 18, 1994, Love phoned the Seattle police informing them that Cobain was suicidal and had locked himself in a room with a gun. Police arrived and confiscated several guns and a bottle of pills from Cobain, who insisted that he was not suicidal and had locked himself in the room to hide from Love. When questioned by police, Love said that Cobain had never mentioned that he was suicidal and that she had not seen him with a gun.
Love arranged an intervention regarding Cobain's drug use on March 25, 1994. The ten people involved included musician friends, record company executives, and one of Cobain's closest friends, Dylan Carlson. The intervention was initially unsuccessful, with an angry Cobain insulting and heaping scorn on its participants and eventually locking himself in the upstairs bedroom. However, by the end of the day, Cobain had agreed to undergo a detox program. Cobain arrived at the Exodus Recovery Center in Los Angeles, California on March 30, 1994. The staff at the facility were unaware of Cobain's history of depression and prior attempts at suicide. When visited by friends, there was no indication to them that Cobain was in any negative or suicidal state of mind. He spent the day talking to counselors about his drug abuse and personal problems, happily playing with his daughter Frances. These interactions were the last time Cobain saw his daughter. The following night, Cobain walked outside to have a cigarette, and climbed over a six-foot-high fence to leave the facility (which he had joked earlier in the day would be a stupid feat to attempt). He took a taxi to Los Angeles Airport and flew back to Seattle. On the flight, he sat next to Duff McKagan of Guns N' Roses. Despite Cobain's own personal animosity towards Guns N' Roses and specifically Axl Rose, Cobain "seemed happy" to see McKagan. McKagan later stated he knew from "all of my instincts that something was wrong." Most of his close friends and family were unaware of his whereabouts. On April 2 and 3, 1994, Cobain was spotted in numerous locations around Seattle. On April 3, 1994, Love contacted private investigator Tom Grant, and hired him to find Cobain. Cobain was not seen on April 4, 1994. On April 7, 1994, amid rumors of Nirvana breaking up, the band pulled out of that year's Lollapalooza music festival.
On April 8, 1994, Cobain's body was discovered at his Lake Washington home by an electrician named Gary Smith who had arrived to install a security system. Apart from a minor amount of blood coming out of Cobain's ear, the electrician reported seeing no visible signs of trauma, and initially believed that Cobain was asleep until he saw the shotgun pointing at his chin. A note was found, addressed to Cobain's childhood imaginary friend "Boddah", that stated that Cobain had not "felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music, along with really writing . . . for too many years now". A high concentration of heroin and traces of diazepam were also found in his body. Cobain's body had been lying there for days; the coroner's report estimated Cobain to have died on April 5, 1994.
A public vigil was held for Cobain on April 10, 1994, at a park at Seattle Center drawing approximately seven thousand mourners. Pre-recorded messages by Krist Novoselic and Courtney Love were played at the memorial. Love read portions of Cobain's suicide note to the crowd, crying and chastising Cobain. Near the end of the vigil, Love arrived at the park and distributed some of Cobain's clothing to those who still remained.[89] Dave Grohl would say that the news of Cobain's death was "probably the worst thing that has happened to me in my life. I remember the day after that I woke up and I was heartbroken that he was gone. I just felt like, 'Okay, so I get to wake up today and have another day and he doesn't.'" He also believed that he knew Cobain would die at an early age, saying that "sometimes you just can't save someone from themselves," and "in some ways, you kind of prepare yourself emotionally for that to be a reality."[90] Dave Reed, who for a short time was Cobain's foster father, said that "he had the desperation, not the courage, to be himself. Once you do that, you can't go wrong, because you can't make any mistakes when people love you for being yourself. But for Kurt, it didn't matter that other people loved him; he simply didn't love himself enough."
A final ceremony was arranged for Cobain by his mother on May 31, 1999, attended by both Courtney Love and Tracy Marander. As a Buddhist monk chanted, his daughter Frances Bean scattered his ashes into McLane Creek in Olympia, the city where he "had found his true artistic muse."
Cobain's artistic endeavors and struggles with heroin addiction, illness and depression, as well as the circumstances of his death have become a frequent topic of fascination, debate, and controversy throughout the world. He is one of the well known members of the 27 Club."

Death of Amy Winehouse - alcohol poisoning, morning hours of  23 July 2011.  

Amy Winehouse - details of death from Wikipedia:

"Winehouse began binge drinking in 2008 after kicking a drug habit. By summer 2011, she had fallen into a pattern of abstaining for a few weeks, and then relapsing. One such relapse led to her death by alcohol intoxication in the morning hours of 23 July 2011.

Winehouse's bodyguard said that he arrived at her residence three days before her death and felt she was somewhat intoxicated. He observed moderate drinking over the next few days. He observed her "laughing, listening to music and watching TV at 2 am the day of her death". According to the bodyguard, at 10 am he observed her lying on her bed and tried unsuccessfully to rouse her. This did not raise much suspicion because she usually slept late after a night out. According to the bodyguard, shortly after 3 pm, he checked on her again and observed her lying in the same position as before, leading to a further check in which he concluded she was not breathing and had no pulse. He said he subsequently called emergency services. At 3:54 pm BST on 23 July 2011, two ambulances were called to Winehouse's home in Camden, London. Winehouse was pronounced dead at the scene. Shortly afterwards, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that she had died. After her death was announced, media and camera crews appeared, as crowds gathered near Winehouse's residence to pay their respects. Forensic investigators entered the flat as police cordoned off the street outside. Police recovered one small and two large bottles of vodka from her room.

A coroner's inquest reached a verdict of misadventure. The report released on 26 October 2011 explained that Winehouse's blood alcohol content was 416 mg per 100ml (0.416%) at the time of her death, more than five times the legal drink-drive limit. According to the coroner, "The unintended consequences of such potentially fatal levels was her sudden death

*See Wikipedia for more biographical details and sources in all cases.